Monday, January 6, 2014

The Summer Milky Way Project at Blake Planetarium

W. Russell Blake Planetarium 2013

The "Summer Milky Way Project" at Blake Planetarium

At Plymouth Community Intermediate School, Ms. Shaw’s 6th grade class took part in an exciting collaboration with the Blake Planetarium and Insight Observatory. Using grant money awarded by iTelescope.net, the students in Ms. Shaw’s class took images of objects found in the visible arm of the Milky Way. The telescopes, which are located in Australia and New Mexico, were accessed and programmed remotely through iPads at the planetarium.

Deep-Sky objects the students imaged  that
are visible from the Northern Hemisphere
Deep-Sky objects the students imaged  that
are visible from the Southern Hemisphere
The images of nebulae and star clusters that returned were not only breathtaking, but also informative, as they showed us what else lies within our galaxy. Since we do not have a picture of our entire galaxy, most of our understanding of the Milky Way comes from the clues we see in our own sky. When we look up at the stars on a clear night, we can see the band across our sky made up of densely packed stars and dark space dust created by the spiral arms of our own galaxy.

Our eyes are not sensitive enough to pick up details of objects that lie within or beyond those distant arms, but the high-powered telescopes at iTelescope.net gave us a clear view of the star nurseries, dying stars, supernova remnants, open clusters, and globular clusters that share our galaxy with us.

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